Keeping Fit as a Family

Four fun events that appeal to the whole tribe / By Erica Todd As National Geographic noted, Austin is one of the top outdoor hubs in the country, an ideal place to have a family-fitness adventure. Here, you’ll find a quartet of fun fitness activities that will help to boost your health while celebrating your family spirit. Choose to run, cycle or swim (there’s even the option to mix it up). What’s more, the memorable moments that you share with your family during these fitness events can also benefit other families in need.

Tour de Cure

May 5, Travis County Expo Center, 8.45 a.m. Set among the renowned Texas Blackland Prairie ecosystem, the 2012 Tour de Cure will take place for the first time as a standalone event in Austin and the surrounding counties. If your family enjoys biking, then this event affords you the opportunity to pedal together and enjoy the accompanying native, grassy landscape. Cyclists of varying fitness levels are encouraged to participate; there are five possible distances to choose from, ranging between 15 and 100 miles. This event benefits the American Diabetes Association and celebrates camaraderie. Anyone with diabetes can cycle as a Red Rider as part of the diabetic community, while family and friends can show their support by riding for Team Red. The jubilant atmosphere of the tour is continued through the entertaining Kid Zone and the live performances by Austin musicians Gina Chavez, Little Beverly & the Shades and ComeDrumforFun. For more information, visit the Austin location section of tour.diabetes.org.

The Money Box Capital 2K Open Water Race and Pledge Swim

May 5, Lady Bird Lake, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Billed as “the only downhill swimming race in Texas,” the Capital 2K swim is a great way to have fun, stay healthy and remain cool as summer looms. Now in its 10th year, the race has been rated among some of the best swimming events locally and nationally. The course takes place on Austin’s treasured Lady Bird Lake. Adults, high-school students and youth swimmers ages 12 through 14 are invited to take part. Anyone who prefers to support racers from the sidelines can select the option of viewing the race from the comfort of a double-decker boat as part of the Money Box Capital 2K Cruise. At the conclusion of the race, there will be food, performances by Austin musicians and awards at Eilers Park/Deep Eddy Pool. The swim raises awareness and support for prostate cancer, benefiting Us TOO International and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. For more information, visit cap2k.com.

Oyster Race

May 20, 828 W. Sixth St., 8 a.m./10 a.m. (full/half course) If your family enjoys running, biking and paddling, the Oyster Race is a great option that allows you to combine all three, and more. Although swimming is technically not a factor, organizers say they “reserve the right to get you wet.” Referred to as a “wilderness eco challenge/Amazing Race” that takes place in one day, this event prioritizes teamwork. The course is kept secret until the race begins, and three members must participate together to complete each leg. The race is open to participants 16 or older (12 or older with a parent or guardian), and teams can have a non-racing support member for equipment or hydration assistance. To suit their comfort level, racers can choose between the different divisions and two possible course lengths (the full 20 to 30 miles or the half course). At the after party, everyone celebrates their accomplishments with Chipotle burritos, beer and awards. The beneficiary of the Oyster Race is Camp Kesem, a summer camp run by college students for children whose parents have cancer. For more information, visit oysterracingseries.com/austin.php.

Congress Avenue Mile

May 19, Capitol, 8 a.m. With the Texas Capitol as a grand backdrop, the Congress Avenue Mile allows you to run in familiar territory. The event, which began in 1990, is renowned for being relatively hassle-free for all concerned because it’s not a huge time commitment, and the distance isn’t too far, but long enough to get you energized. Runners head down Congress Avenue and across the bridge, making it convenient for runners and spectators. The all-ages race has an untimed Family Fun Run option, in addition to being open to competitors wanting to enter the men, women or high-school divisions. Participants younger than 8 to those older than 70 are recognized for their efforts in the Age Group Awards. The Congress Avenue Mile kicks off with a pre-race party at Changos Taqueria, featuring live music, Olympic speakers and all-natural food. Benefiting from this event is the RunTex Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve community fitness by supporting a variety of programs and charities. For more information, visit congressavenuemile.com.

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